The United States is a land of immigrants, as President Obama reminded people at a rally held recently in Las Vegas. And that meant that America was constantly being replenished with strivers who believed in the American dream. Actually the country is, has been and always will be a land of immigrants. However, as George Orwell might have put it, some are more immigrant than others. The most recent clutch of settlers are the the green carders who have mugged up American History, learned the national anthem and have just taken the oath before a judge to uphold the Constitution. A number of these people are from south of the border. George Mikes, the Hungarian-born British writer, in his humorous book How to Scrape Skies published in 1948, pointed out that the chap who had just gotten off the boat at New York looked down on the fellow who was still searching for his baggage on the deck. The point is — it is the early immigrants that are firmly entrenched and are deciding the fate of the newcomers who believe that in a land of opportunity, one can still become a millionaire. President Barrack Obama is a rare exception. He does not belong to any of the established families. In spite of all the anecdotes about him not being able to take a decision, to me, he comes across as a sane, sober, highly intelligent and compassionate person who cares, who abhors torture and all forms of tyranny. What is most regrettable is that since he became president for the second time, racism has increased quite considerably in the United States. In fact, certain white senators are mining the rich vein of racism and stereotyping in today’s political orthodoxy.
Many Republicans as well as Democrats see advantages in regularising illegal immigrants. In fact, rather than sending them back to where they came from they would like all undocumented immigrants to submit to background checks, learn English and start paying taxes. On this issue, President Obama has demonstrated his compassion by increasing deportation relief for an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants. Recently, in his address in Nashville, Tennessee, President Obama sought to reassure Hispanics that signing up for deportation relief under his new immigration policy was safe and would not put them in jeopardy if his White House successor tried to overturn the action. He also paid tribute to people of Latin American origin who have made many contributions to the American way of life.

The migration of Pakistanis in fairly large numbers to the New World occurred after the 1965 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act. Since 1998, more than 150,000 Pakistanis have gained lawful permanent residence in the United States. Most of them settled in New York, Houston, Chicago, Washington, DC and Los Angeles. The majority of them had a bachelor’s degree and were more likely to enter the labour force than immigrants from other countries. About a third of Pakistani immigrants were employed in either management or business or sciences and engineering occupations. The fact that they knew English was a great help. The enthusiasm has waned somewhat, especially after the fallout from 9/11 when Homeland Security started to single out Pakistani passport holders and reports trickled in of undue harassment of Muslim travellers on suspicion they might be terrorists. Apparently, nobody is above the law, not even the Indian ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar, who was patted down at Jackson Airport after being pulled out of the line of passengers. Homeland Security had discovered a new terrorist threat — the sari. Wait till they discover the gharara.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2014.